It has been less than 24 hours, since Linda Franklin was shot and killed in Northern Virginia. One day after the attack, firearms experts have confirmed the shooting is linked to the Washington area sniper. None of this would have been possible without new scientific tools that tool experts in Lubbock work with everyday.
Firearms Expert, Aaron Fullerton, can actually link two different shootings using the NIBIN System. It stands for National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. In fact, this is the exact same system ballistic experts in Washington D.C. use. "I'll take the cartridge cases and bullets and basically take a picture of it with this system. It'll search that picture against all other pictures in the database and try to see if that same gun has been used anywhere in Texas or in the nation," says Fullerton.
Another system commonly used for the same reason is the Water Tank. By firing the gun into the tank, experts can see what kind of markings are left on the bullets. Every single groove is examined closely for a match. "I can see two objects simultaneously in eye pieces and it allows me to see if markings are the same, which would also be able to tell me if it came from the same firearm,"says Fullerton.
This is how Washington experts are able to say with certainty that the same sniper has killed nine people. Lubbock's NIBIN system is one of only eight in Texas. Experts using this system in Washington, were able to determine that the sniper is possibly using a 223 rifle. Those bullets are small, they travel at a high rate of speed, and they are more likely to kill.
State law in Maryland and New York says that every gun sold from a dealer has to have a cartridge case submitted to their labs. This way they can enter it into the NIBIN system, but there is a loophole to this law that exempts rifles. And that is the very weapon being used by the sniper.